I have previously written about the increased pace of medical provider/hospital mergers since the Affordable Care Act was passed. By consolidating choices and moving more services into hospital settings, where pricing is much higher for the same treatment, facilities are able to negotiate better PPO rates, increase revenue, and improve profitability. This exact same trend is also occurring on the health insurer side.
Large group health insurers are attempting to merge in order to increase efficiency and gain more leverage in negotiations with providers. This time, in an ironic turn of events, it is the hospitals and providers themselves that are fighting these mergers.
I am an advocate for more choice in the marketplace, and merging the few remaining large group insurance carriers is not beneficial for consumer choice or our healthcare costs in America.
While there are some positives to the Affordable Care Act – like advancing value-based care – many of its regulations are a baby step to universal healthcare, which favor a small number of very large insurance companies and the consolidation of provider/hospital systems. Let’s hope the U.S. Justice Department and the courts can slow down the consolidation and maintain some level of choice for us as consumers.